• You can download the full Buyer’s Case initiative with Les Vignerons Fonaclieu here. 

    One of the founding principles of The Buyer is to find ways in which we can help bring beer, wine and spirit producers closer to the key decision makers across the drinks supply chain. Be they distributors, suppliers or the final on-trade buyers representing bars, restaurants, pubs and hotels.

    To help achieve this we have developed The Buyer’s Case initiative which allows producers to send specific bottles direct to key buyers in the channels they are hoping to reach in the UK on-trade.

    Buyers who, in turn, are willing to taste the drinks and then give their technical and commercial assessment of each one with no obligation to go on to buy any they might recommend.

    But crucially also willing to give practical, constructive advice to producers on the drinks they did not find suitable, explaining why and suggesting other channels of the trade they might be suited for.   

    Which is exactly what our first Buyer’s Case partner wanted to do: Les Vignerons Foncalieu.

    The Languedoc-based French wine co-operative works with over 1,000 winegrowers to build up a strong range of quality wine from three key regions: the Languedoc-Roussillon, Gascony and the Rhône. Wines it believes are well placed to do well in key areas of the on-trade.

    Marie-Annick Consola, Les Vignerons Foncalieu’s sales manager for the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia, explains why she wanted to take part: 

    “We wanted to look at opportunities for opening

    up new distribution channels in the UK and were keen to

    trial this different approach suggested to us by the team

    at The Buyer. Richard has wide ranging experience of the

    wine industry and a good business network, these factors

    were important and played a big part in my decision to get

    involved.”

    Targeted approach

    As a result Les Vignerons Foncalieu teamed up with The Buyer to specifically introduce its wines to key buyers in its target channels of the on-trade.

    Namely:

    * premium hotel/ country house

    * premium wine bar/restaurant

    * wine merchant/bar

    • regional pub group

    The Buyers

    The buyers willing to take part in our first Buyer’s Case initiative were:

    * Alwine Mascaro, head sommelier, at Hotel Terravina the boutique country house hotel owned by Gerard Basset MW MS, at Netley Marsh near Southampton.

    * Clement Robert MS, group sommelier and buyer for 28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen, the three strong group of wine bars and restaurants in central London, including Fetter Lane, Marleybone Lane and Maddox Street.

    * The Vagabond Wines buying team which runs three combined wine bars and wine merchants in Fulham, Charlotte Street and Spitafields. Its model is to offer 100 machines serving wines by the glass as well as wines to take away.

    * Noel Reid, wine buyer, Robinsons Brewery, responsible for sourcing and managing the wine list for its 300 plus estate of company-owned pubs spread across the north of England, as well as building a more premium wine offer for its growing free trade business.

    Les Vignerons Foncalieu then selected the right case of different wines to send to each buyer, based on their needs and customer base.

    The wines

    The wines involved in the project included.

    ● Atelier Prestige: a range of Les Vignerons Foncalieu top wines which are made by hand selected

    growers working together to produce artisanal wines (Suggested list price: £50).

    ● Château Haut Gléon: – from the Château of the same name in Vallée de Paradis

    (bought by Foncalieu in 2012). The Château and Domaine ranges are available in the UK

    (Suggested list price: £40-£50).

    ● Les Extraordinaires: a range of innovative wines that bring together interesting blends,

    or unexpected grape varieties for the region (Suggested list price: £20-£28).

    ● Le Versant: single varietal wines designed to show the purest expression of each grape

    variety (Suggested list price: £20-£25).

    The result

    Please read through our specially produced report for each of the buyers’ comments and thoughts on the wines.

    But encouragingly each of the buyers said they would like to buy a number of the wines presented to them and are now in discussions with Les Vignerons Foncalieu over what works for them specifically.

    Which is all good news for Marie-Annick Consola: “The activity has been a really good way of putting specific wines in front of key buyers, and for me, has been a really positive experience.”